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  • Writer's pictureHoward Thompson

"Love is an act of surrender to another person."

Updated: May 1, 2023

On this Easter Monday I find that I am filled with an overwhelming sense of love, beautifully captured in the above quote from Alan Watts.

In the teachings for the New Church the central message is that God is Love and that Love is the fundamental force that binds all of creation together. Love is not just an emotion or feeling, but a divine force and principle that is at the heart of all existence.

The writer Alan Watts said, "Love is an act of surrender to another person. Total abandonment. I give myself to you. Take me.” In Alan’s words we see a reflection of this New Church principle of Love. When we love someone, we surrender ourselves to them completely, giving ourselves over to their care and protection. In doing so, we become vulnerable, placing our trust and faith in the other person.

In his writings for the New Church, Emanuel Swedenborg explains that when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was faced with the ultimate test of His love for humanity. He was tempted to abandon His mission and to save His natural self from the suffering that lay ahead. But instead of giving in to this temptation, Jesus surrendered His natural self completely to the will of His Divine and His divine mission.

In this act of surrender, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of Love, giving His natural self over to the care and protection of His Divine, and trusting that His sacrifice would ultimately lead to the salvation of all humanity. Through His sacrifice, Jesus showed that Love is not just an emotion or feeling, but an active choice to surrender oneself to a higher power and to trust in the greater good.

In these days and weeks following Easter, I invite you to meditate on the following words from the Lord. Maybe take a few minutes, first thing in the morning, and read just this verse several times. Notice, at the end of a week, how the Lord’s words have changed how you show up for those around you:

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

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